AMHERST – It’s a beautiful location, nestled in a valley outside Collingwood. Cobequid Mountain Sports has been around a long time. The business was founded in 1965. But a loyal clientele, a long tradition and a picturesque spot can’t do anything about the weather. Snowmobile sales are down, according to the owner, and he thinks they’re down across the province.
“It’s been a slow year,” said Ches Walsh.
This season needed early snowfall to make up for last year, said Walsh, which didn’t happen. The snow that’s fallen has been followed with rain, and good conditions haven’t held. A snow-filled March would help with priming interest for next year, though, he said
ATV and side-by-side sales are above average, said the owner, but neither are eligible for snowmobile trail permits.
James Moore, of Moore Automotive & Recreation Store in Amherst, is a little more positive.
“I would say just average,” he said of snowmobile sales.
Early snow, lots of snow, and a good previous year are the main determining factors in sales.
“It’s almost always the weather,” he said.
His big sales season actually takes place in the fall, before the bulk of cold season’s snow is expected.
Moore said ATVs can be used in winter “depending on the conditions.” He sells a track kit to replace ATV tires for snow use, and ATV sales generally haven’t been too bad, he said. The four-wheeled vehicles draw from a larger demographic than snowmobiles, according to Moore. Plowing is a common winter use of the machines.
“It’s a mini-truck for all intents and purposes,” he said.
Roy Duguay Sales in Amherst doesn’t offer snowmobiles, but ATV sales season should begin in the next month, according to James Duguay.
“Some people use them for everything,” said Duguay. “…Probably sell 20 (plows) a year.”
SIDEBAR: James Moore said snowmobiling can be an adrenaline rush or a family-oriented activity. He said a typical enthusiast will put from 1,500 to 2,000 miles on his or her sled in a season.